July 23rd 2014
Notes From the Road: The Shared Journey
I have just returned from a convention and small signing tour to help promote A Plunder of Souls, the third book in my Thieftaker Chronicles (written as D.B. Jackson). I had several good events — a launch party at ConGregate, fun signings with my friends Faith Hunter and A.J. Hartley in Rock Hill, South Carolina and Gastonia, North Carolina, and a couple of great solo signings in Richmond and Raleigh at independent bookstores (Fountain Bookstore and Quail Ridge Books and Music).
It was a hectic ten days, but, I think, very productive. I feel that the new novel is off to a good commercial start, and I enjoyed spending time with colleagues and friends along the way.
But the truth of the matter is, the best part about this little signing tour was the fact that my younger daughter came with me.
I don’t want to resort to cliché and wax poetic about how family is more important than career success — though, like so many cliches, this one is based in reality. And I’m not going to tell you some long tale about how my daughter and I had been at odds, but that this trip helped us overcome the barriers between us. Actually, I’m delighted to say that we’ve always been very close.
I wanted her with me on this trip because I thought it would be fun. She wanted to come with me for the same reason. She loves my writer friends almost as much as I do. She enjoys watching me put on my professional demeanor and interact with fans and fellow authors. She has done some writing herself, and though I don’t think that “writer” would necessarily make her Top Five Possible Careers list, I do think that she could be very, very good at this. So I suppose there is some value for her in seeing what the self-promotion side of my career looks like. (As she quickly figured out, it’s not very glamorous.)
But I didn’t bring her with me so that she could learn more about the publishing business, or to repair a damaged relationship, or because she had nothing else to do. We did this trip together because I wanted to have time with my teenaged daughter and, lo and behold, my teenaged daughter wanted time with her middle-aged dad.
Did we fight? Yeah, once or twice. But mostly we laughed and talked, we listened to music in the car and sang together, we spent time with my friends, who are now her friends, too. And while I wouldn’t say that I didn’t care about the turn-out for my signings, I can honestly say that having her with me made the tour about something more than just book sales and head counts. I’ll remember this summer’s tour above all the others, not because it was necessarily more successful, but because she and I had that time together. More to the point, she will carry the memory of these past ten days with her for the rest of her life. Someday she’ll tell her kids about the experience. You can’t put a value on that.
We are already talking about next year’s signing tour, with the assumption that she’ll be with me again. Of course, a lot can happen in a year. Some opportunity might come up that will be more attractive to her, and I’ll be fine with that. She needs to follow her own passions, her own ambitions. But I hope she comes with me again, so that we can cobble together a new set of memories. I hope we sell some books, too; I’d love to have huge lines waiting for me at the bookstores. In the end though, that will just be icing on the proverbial cake. The real reward will be in the shared journey.
D.B. Jackson is also David B. Coe, the award-winning author of more than a dozen fantasy novels. His first two books as D.B. Jackson, the Revolutionary War era urban fantasies, Thieftaker and Thieves’ Quarry, volumes I and II of the Thieftaker Chronicles, are both available from Tor Books in hardcover and paperback. The third volume, A Plunder of Souls, has just been released in hardcover. The fourth Thieftaker novel, Dead Man’s Reach, is in production and will be out in the summer of 2015. D.B. lives on the Cumberland Plateau with his wife and two teenaged daughters. They’re all smarter and prettier than he is, but they keep him around because he makes a mean vegetarian fajita. When he’s not writing he likes to hike, play guitar, and stalk the perfect image with his camera.
David B. Coe
David B. Coe (http://www.DavidBCoe.com) is the Crawford award-winning author of the LonTobyn Chronicle, the Winds of the Forelands quintet, the Blood of the Southlands trilogy, and a number of short stories. Writing as D.B. Jackson (http://www.dbjackson-author.com), he is the author of the Thieftaker Chronicles, a blend of urban fantasy, mystery, and historical fiction. David is also part of the Magical Words group blog (http://magicalwords.net), and co-author of How To Write Magical Words: A Writer’s Companion. In 2010 he wrote the novelization of director Ridley Scott’s movie, Robin Hood. His books have been translated into more than a dozen languages. Visit site.
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